Air Ref System 2

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```					              Lesson
9
Air cycle refrigeration
systems

1   Version 1 ME, IIT Kharagpur
The specific objectives of the lesson:
This lesson discusses various gas cycle refrigeration systems based on air, namely:

1. Reverse Carnot cycle & its limitations (Section 9.4)
2. Reverse Brayton cycle – Ideal & Actual (Section 9.5)
3. Aircraft refrigeration cycles, namely Simple system, Bootstrap system,
Regenerative system, etc. (Section 9.6)

At the end of the lesson the student should be able to:

1.     Describe various air cycle refrigeration systems (Section 9.1-9.6)
2.     State the assumptions made in the analyses of air cycle systems (Section 9.2)
3.     Show the cycles on T-s diagrams (Section 9.4-9.6)
4.     Perform various cycle calculations (Section 9.3-9.6)
5.     State the significance of Dry Air Rated Temperature (Section 9.6)

9.1. Introduction
Air cycle refrigeration systems belong to the general class of gas cycle refrigeration
systems, in which a gas is used as the working fluid. The gas does not undergo any
phase change during the cycle, consequently, all the internal heat transfer processes
are sensible heat transfer processes. Gas cycle refrigeration systems find applications
in air craft cabin cooling and also in the liquefaction of various gases. In the present
chapter gas cycle refrigeration systems based on air are discussed.

9.2. Air Standard Cycle analysis
Air cycle refrigeration system analysis is considerably simplified if one makes the
following assumptions:

i.        The working fluid is a fixed mass of air that behaves as an ideal gas
ii.       The cycle is assumed to be a closed loop cycle with all inlet and exhaust
processes of open loop cycles being replaced by heat transfer processes to
or from the environment
iii.      All the processes within the cycle are reversible, i.e., the cycle is internally
reversible
iv.       The specific heat of air remains constant throughout the cycle

An analysis with the above assumptions is called as cold Air Standard Cycle (ASC)
analysis. This analysis yields reasonably accurate results for most of the cycles and
processes encountered in air cycle refrigeration systems. However, the analysis fails
when one considers a cycle consisting of a throttling process, as the temperature drop
during throttling is zero for an ideal gas, whereas the actual cycles depend exclusively
on the real gas behavior to produce refrigeration during throttling.

2            Version 1 ME, IIT Kharagpur
9.3. Basic concepts
The temperature of an ideal gas can be reduced either by making the gas to do work in
an isentropic process or by sensible heat exchange with a cooler environment. When
the gas does adiabatic work in a closed system by say, expanding against a piston, its
internal energy drops. Since the internal energy of the ideal gas depends only on its
temperature, the temperature of the gas also drops during the process, i.e.,

W = m(u 1 − u 2 ) = mc v (T1 − T2 )                       (9.1)

where m is the mass of the gas, u1 and u2 are the initial and final internal energies of
the gas, T1 and T2 are the initial and final temperatures and cv is the specific heat at
constant volume. If the expansion is reversible and adiabatic, by using the ideal gas
γ      γ
equation Pv = RT and the equation for isentropic process P1 v1 = P2 v 2 the final
temperature (T2) is related to the initial temperature (T1) and initial and final pressures
(P1 and P2) by the equation:
γ −1
⎛P ⎞        γ
T2 = T1 ⎜ 2 ⎟
⎜P ⎟                                   (9.2)
⎝ 1⎠

where γ is the coefficient of isentropic expansion given by:

⎛ cp ⎞
γ =⎜ ⎟
⎜c ⎟                                      (9.3)
⎝ v⎠

Isentropic expansion of the gas can also be carried out in a steady flow in a turbine
which gives a net work output. Neglecting potential and kinetic energy changes, the
work output of the turbine is given by:
.                 .
W = m(h 1 − h 2 ) = m c p (T1 − T2 )                     (9.4)

The final temperature is related to the initial temperature and initial and final
pressures by Eq. (9.2).

9.4. Reversed Carnot cycle employing a gas
Reversed Carnot cycle is an ideal refrigeration cycle for constant temperature external
heat source and heat sinks. Figure 9.1(a) shows the schematic of a reversed Carnot
refrigeration system using a gas as the working fluid along with the cycle diagram on
T-s and P-v coordinates. As shown, the cycle consists of the following four processes:

Process 1-2: Reversible, adiabatic compression in a compressor
Process 2-3: Reversible, isothermal heat rejection in a compressor
Process 3-4: Reversible, adiabatic expansion in a turbine

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Process 4-1: Reversible, isothermal heat absorption in a turbine

Fig. 9.1(a). Schematic of a reverse Carnot refrigeration system

Fig. 9.1(b). Reverse Carnot refrigeration system in P-v and T-s coordinates

The heat transferred during isothermal processes 2-3 and 4-1 are given by:
3
q 2−3 = ∫ T.ds = Th (s 3 − s 2 )                        (9.5a)
2
1
q 4−1 = ∫ T.ds = Tl (s1 − s 4 )                        (9.5b)
4
s1 = s 2 and s3 = s 4 , hence s 2 - s3 = s1 - s 4                       (9.6)

Applying first law of thermodynamics to the closed cycle,

∫ δq = (q 4−1 + q 2−3 ) = ∫ δw = ( w 2−3 − w 4−1 ) = − w net           (9.7)

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the work of isentropic expansion, w3-4 exactly matches the work of isentropic
compression w1-2.
the COP of the Carnot system is given by:

q 4−1 ⎛ Tl ⎞
COPCarnot =        =⎜         ⎟                           (9.8)
w net ⎜ Th − Tl ⎟
⎝         ⎠

Thus the COP of the Carnot system depends only on the refrigeration (Tl) and heat
rejection (Th) temperatures only.

Limitations of Carnot cycle:

Carnot cycle is an idealization and it suffers from several practical limitations. One of
the main difficulties with Carnot cycle employing a gas is the difficulty of achieving
isothermal heat transfer during processes 2-3 and 4-1. For a gas to have heat transfer
isothermally, it is essential to carry out work transfer from or to the system when heat
is transferred to the system (process 4-1) or from the system (process 2-3). This is
difficult to achieve in practice. In addition, the volumetric refrigeration capacity of the
Carnot system is very small leading to large compressor displacement, which gives
rise to large frictional effects. All actual processes are irreversible, hence completely
reversible cycles are idealizations only.

9.5. Ideal reverse Brayton cycle

Fig. 9.2(a). Schematic of a closed reverse Brayton cycle

This is an important cycle frequently employed in gas cycle refrigeration systems.
This may be thought of as a modification of reversed Carnot cycle, as the two
isothermal processes of Carnot cycle are replaced by two isobaric heat transfer
processes. This cycle is also called as Joule or Bell-Coleman cycle. Figure 9.2(a) and
(b) shows the schematic of a closed, reverse Brayton cycle and also the cycle on T-s

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diagram. As shown in the figure, the ideal cycle consists of the following four
processes:

Process 1-2: Reversible, adiabatic compression in a compressor
Process 2-3: Reversible, isobaric heat rejection in a heat exchanger
Process 3-4: Reversible, adiabatic expansion in a turbine
Process 4-1: Reversible, isobaric heat absorption in a heat exchanger

Fig. 9.2(b). Reverse Brayton cycle in T-s plane

Process 1-2: Gas at low pressure is compressed isentropically from state 1 to state 2.
Applying steady flow energy equation and neglecting changes in kinetic and potential
energy, we can write:

.                    .
W1− 2 = m(h 2 − h 1 ) = m c p (T2 − T1 )
s 2 = s1                                     (9.9)
γ −1
⎛P          ⎞ γ               γ −1
and T2 = T1 ⎜ 2 ⎟
⎜P ⎟                = T1 rp     γ
⎝ 1⎠
where rp = (P2/P1) = pressure ratio

Process 2-3: Hot and high pressure gas flows through a heat exchanger and rejects
heat sensibly and isobarically to a heat sink. The enthalpy and temperature of the gas
drop during the process due to heat exchange, no work transfer takes place and the
entropy of the gas decreases. Again applying steady flow energy equation and second
T ds equation:
.                    .
Q 2−3 = m(h 2 − h 3 ) = m c p (T2 − T3 )
T2
s 2 − s 3 = c p ln                              (9.10)
T3
P2 = P3

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Process 3-4: High pressure gas from the heat exchanger flows through a turbine,
undergoes isentropic expansion and delivers net work output. The temperature of the
gas drops during the process from T3 to T4. From steady flow energy equation:

.                   .
W3−4 = m(h 3 − h 4 ) = m c p (T3 − T4 )
s3 = s 4                                  (9.11)
γ −1
⎛P ⎞            γ              γ −1
and T3 = T4 ⎜ 3 ⎟
⎜P ⎟                 = T4 rp     γ
⎝ 4⎠
where rp = (P3/P4) = pressure ratio

Process 4-1: Cold and low pressure gas from turbine flows through the low
temperature heat exchanger and extracts heat sensibly and isobarically from a heat
source, providing a useful refrigeration effect. The enthalpy and temperature of the
gas rise during the process due to heat exchange, no work transfer takes place and the
entropy of the gas increases. Again applying steady flow energy equation and second
T ds equation:
.                   .
Q 4−1 = m(h 1 − h 4 ) = m c p (T1 − T4 )
T4
s 4 − s1 = c p ln                              (9.12)
T1
P4 = P1

From the above equations, it can be easily shown that:

⎛ T2 ⎞ ⎛ T3 ⎞
⎜ ⎟=⎜ ⎟
⎜ T ⎟ ⎜T ⎟                                  (9.13)
⎝ 1⎠ ⎝ 4⎠

Applying 1st law of thermodynamics to the entire cycle:

∫ δq = (q 4−1 − q 2−3 ) = ∫ δw = ( w 3−4 − w 1−2 ) = − w net           (9.14)

The COP of the reverse Brayton cycle is given by:

q 4−1 ⎛      (Tl − T4 )     ⎞
COP =         =⎜
⎜ (T − T ) − (T − T ) ⎟
⎟                         (9.15)
w net ⎝ 2     1      3   4 ⎠

using the relation between temperatures and pressures, the COP can also be written
as:
⎛                     ⎞
⎛       (Tl − T4 )    ⎞ ⎛ T4 ⎞ ⎜         (Tl − T4 )      ⎟      γ −1
−1
COP = ⎜                      ⎟= ⎜
⎜ (T − T ) − (T − T ) ⎟ ⎜ T − T ⎟⎟=⎜             γ −1    ⎟ = (rp γ − 1)    (9.16)
⎝                  4 ⎠ ⎝ 3     4 ⎠ ⎜ (T − T )( r         ⎟
p γ − 1) ⎠
2    1      3
⎝ 1     4

From the above expression for COP, the following observations can be made:

7                Version 1 ME, IIT Kharagpur
a) For fixed heat rejection temperature (T3) and fixed refrigeration temperature
(T1), the COP of reverse Brayton cycle is always lower than the COP of
reverse        Carnot       cycle        (Fig.      9.3),        that      is
⎛ T4 ⎞                  ⎛ T1 ⎞
COPBrayton = ⎜
⎜ T − T ⎟ < COPCarnot = ⎜ T − T ⎟
⎟             ⎜         ⎟
⎝ 3     4 ⎠             ⎝ 3     1⎠

Fig. 9.3. Comparison of reverse Carnot and reverse Brayton cycle in T-s plane

b) COP of Brayton cycle approaches COP of Carnot cycle as T1 approaches T4
(thin cycle), however, the specific refrigeration effect [cp(T1-T4)] also reduces
simultaneously.
c) COP of reverse Brayton cycle decreases as the pressure ratio rp increases

Actual reverse Brayton cycle:

The actual reverse Brayton cycle differs from the ideal cycle due to:

i.      Non-isentropic compression and expansion processes
ii.     Pressure drops in cold and hot heat exchangers

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Fig. 9.4. Comparison of ideal and actual Brayton cycles T-s plane

Figure 9.4 shows the ideal and actual cycles on T-s diagram. Due to these
irreversibilities, the compressor work input increases and turbine work output reduces.
The actual work transfer rates of compressor and turbine are then given by:

W1− 2,isen
W1−2,act =                                       (9.17)
η c,isen
W3−4,act = η t ,isen W3−4,isen                    (9.18)

where ηc,isen and ηt,isen are the isentropic efficiencies of compressor and turbine,
respectively. In the absence of pressure drops, these are defined as:

(h 2 − h 1 ) (T2 − T1 )
ηc,isen =               =                                (9.20)
(h 2' − h 1 ) (T2' − T1 )
(h − h )        (T − T )
ηt ,isen    = 3′ 4' = 3′ 4'                                  (9.21)
(h3 − h4 )      (T3 − T4 )

The actual net work input, wnet,act is given by:

Wnet ,act = W1−2,act − W3−4,act                       (9.22)

thus the net work input increases due to increase in compressor work input and
reduction in turbine work output. The refrigeration effect also reduces due to the
irreversibilities. As a result, the COP of actual reverse Brayton cycles will be
considerably lower than the ideal cycles. Design of efficient compressors and turbines
plays a major role in improving the COP of the system.

In practice, reverse Brayton cycles can be open or closed. In open systems, cold air at
the exit of the turbine flows into a room or cabin (cold space), and air to the

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compressor is taken from the cold space. In such a case, the low side pressure will be
atmospheric. In closed systems, the same gas (air) flows through the cycle in a closed
manner. In such cases it is possible to have low side pressures greater than
atmospheric. These systems are known as dense air systems. Dense air systems are
advantageous as it is possible to reduce the volume of air handled by the compressor
and turbine at high pressures. Efficiency will also be high due to smaller pressure
ratios. It is also possible to use gases other than air (e.g. helium) in closed systems.

9.6. Aircraft cooling systems
In an aircraft, cooling systems are required to keep the cabin temperatures at a
comfortable level. Even though the outside temperatures are very low at high
altitudes, still cooling of cabin is required due to:

i.      Large internal heat generation due to occupants, equipment etc.
ii.     Heat generation due to skin friction caused by the fast moving aircraft
iii.    At high altitudes, the outside pressure will be sub-atmospheric. When air
at this low pressure is compressed and supplied to the cabin at pressures
close to atmospheric, the temperature increases significantly. For example,
when outside air at a pressure of 0.2 bar and temperature of 223 K (at
10000 m altitude) is compressed to 1 bar, its temperature increases to
about 353 K. If the cabin is maintained at 0.8 bar, the temperature will be
about 332 K. This effect is called as ram effect. This effect adds heat to the
cabin, which needs to be taken out by the cooling system.

For low speed aircraft flying at low altitudes, cooling system may not be required,
however, for high speed aircraft flying at high altitudes, a cooling system is a
must.

Even though the COP of air cycle refrigeration is very low compared to vapour
compression refrigeration systems, it is still found to be most suitable for aircraft
refrigeration systems as:
i.      Air is cheap, safe, non-toxic and non-flammable. Leakage of air is not a
problem
ii.     Cold air can directly be used for cooling thus eliminating the low
temperature heat exchanger (open systems) leading to lower weight
iii.    The aircraft engine already consists of a high speed turbo-compressor,
hence separate compressor for cooling system is not required. This reduces
the weight per kW cooling considerably. Typically, less than 50% of an
equivalent vapour compression system
iv.     Design of the complete system is much simpler due to low pressures.
Maintenance required is also less.

10            Version 1 ME, IIT Kharagpur
9.6.1. Simple aircraft refrigeration cycle:

Fig. 9.5. Schematic of a simple aircraft refrigeration cycle

Figure 9.5 shows the schematic of a simple aircraft refrigeration system and the
operating cycle on T-s diagram. This is an open system. As shown in the T-s diagram,
the outside low pressure and low temperature air (state 1) is compressed due to ram
effect to ram pressure (state 2). During this process its temperature increases from 1 to
2. This air is compressed in the main compressor to state 3, and is cooled to state 4 in
the air cooler. Its pressure is reduced to cabin pressure in the turbine (state 5), as a
result its temperature drops from 4 to 5. The cold air at state 5 is supplied to the cabin.
It picks up heat as it flows through the cabin providing useful cooling effect. The
power output of the turbine is used to drive the fan, which maintains the required air
flow over the air cooler. This simple system is good for ground cooling (when the
aircraft is not moving) as fan can continue to maintain airflow over the air cooler.

By applying steady flow energy equation to the ramming process, the temperature rise
at the end of the ram effect can be shown to be:

T2'      γ −1 2
=1 +     M                            (9.23)
T1        2
where M is the Mach number, which is the ratio of velocity of the aircraft (C) to the
sonic velocity a ( a = γ RT1 ), i.e.,

C    C
M=     =                                       (9.24)
a   γ RT1

Due to irreversibilities, the actual pressure at the end of ramming will be less than the
pressure resulting from isentropic compression. The ratio of actual pressure rise to the
isentropic pressure rise is called as ram efficiency, ηRam, i.e.,

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(P2 − P1 )
η Ram =                                          (9.25)
(P2' − P1 )

.
The refrigeration capacity of the simple aircraft cycle discussed, Q is given by:
.      .
Q = m c p (Ti − T5 )                          (9.26)
.
where m is the mass flow rate of air through the turbine.

9.6.2. Bootstrap system:

Figure 9.6 shows the schematic of a bootstrap system, which is a modification of the
simple system. As shown in the figure, this system consists of two heat exchangers
(air cooler and aftercooler), in stead of one air cooler of the simple system. It also
incorporates a secondary compressor, which is driven by the turbine of the cooling
system. This system is suitable for high speed aircraft, where in the velocity of the
aircraft provides the necessary airflow for the heat exchangers, as a result a separate
fan is not required. As shown in the cycle diagram, ambient air state 1 is pressurized
to state 2 due to the ram effect. This air is further compressed to state 3 in the main
compressor. The air is then cooled to state 4 in the air cooler. The heat rejected in the
air cooler is absorbed by the ram air at state 2. The air from the air cooler is further
compressed from state 4 to state 5 in the secondary compressor. It is then cooled to
state 6 in the after cooler, expanded to cabin pressure in the cooling turbine and is
supplied to the cabin at a low temperature T7. Since the system does not consist of a
separate fan for driving the air through the heat exchangers, it is not suitable for
ground cooling. However, in general ground cooling is normally done by an external
air conditioning system as it is not efficient to run the aircraft engine just to provide
cooling when it is grounded.

Other modifications over the simple system are: regenerative system and reduced
ambient system. In a regenerative system, a part of the cold air from the cooling
turbine is used for precooling the air entering the turbine. As a result much lower
temperatures are obtained at the exit of the cooling turbine, however, this is at the
expense of additional weight and design complexity. The cooling turbine drives a fan
similar to the simple system. The regenerative system is good for both ground cooling
as well as high speed aircrafts. The reduced ambient system is well-suited for
supersonic aircrafts and rockets.

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Fig. 9.6. Schematic of a bootstrap system

Dry Air Rated Temperature (DART):

The concept of Dry Air Rated Temperature is used to compare different aircraft
refrigeration cycles. Dry Air Rated Temperature is defined as the temperature of the
air at the exit of the cooling turbine in the absence of moisture condensation. For
condensation not to occur during expansion in turbine, the dew point temperature and
hence moisture content of the air should be very low, i.e., the air should be very dry.
The aircraft refrigeration systems are rated based on the mass flow rate of air at the
design DART. The cooling capacity is then given by:
.    .
Q = m c p (Ti − TDART )                        (9.27)
.
where m is the mass flow rate of air, TDART and Ti are the dry air rated temperature
and cabin temperature, respectively.

A comparison between different aircraft refrigeration systems based on DART at
different Mach numbers shows that:

i.         DART increases monotonically with Mach number for all the systems
except the reduced ambient system
ii.        The simple system is adequate at low Mach numbers
iii.       At high Mach numbers either bootstrap system or regenerative system
should be used
iv.        Reduced ambient temperature system is best suited for very high Mach
number, supersonic aircrafts

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Questions:
1. A refrigerator working on Bell-Coleman cycle (Reverse brayton cycle) operates
between 1 bar and 10 bar. Air is drawn from cold chamber at -10ºC. Air coming out
of compressor is cooled to 50ºC before entering the expansion cylinder. Polytropic
law P.V1.3 = constant is followed during expansion and compression. Find theoretical
C.O.P of the origin. Take γ = 1.4 and Cp = 1.00 kJ/kg 0C for air. (Solution)

2. An air refrigerator working on the principle of Bell-Coleman cycle. The air into
the compressor is at 1 atm at -10ºC. It is compressed to 10 atm and cooled to 40ºC at
the same pressure. It is then expanded to 1 atm and discharged to take cooling load.
The air circulation is 1 kg/s.
The isentropic efficiency of the compressor = 80%
The isentropic efficiency of the expander = 90%

Find the following:
i)      Refrigeration capacity of the system
ii)     C.O.P of the system

Take γ = 1.4, Cp = 1.00 kJ/kg ºC (Solution)

3. A Carnot refrigerator extracts 150 kJ of heat per minute from a space which is
maintained at -20°C and is discharged to atmosphere at 45°C. Find the work required
to run the unit. (Solution)

4. A cold storage plant is required to store 50 tons of fish.

The temperature at which fish was supplied = 35°C
Storage temperature of fish = -10°C
Cp of fish above freezing point = 2.94kJ/kg°C
Cp of fish below freezing point = 1.26 kJ/kg°C
Freezing point of fish = -5°C
Latent heat of fish = 250 kJ/kg

If the cooling is achieved within half of a day, find:
a) Capacity of the refrigerating plant
b) Carnot COP
Carnot COP
c) If actual COP =                     find the power required to run the plant.
2.5
(Solution)

5. A boot strap cooling system of 10 tons is used in an aeroplane. The temperature
and pressure conditions of atmosphere are 20°C and 0.9 atm. The pressure of air is
increased from 0.9 atm to 1.1 atm due to ramming. The pressures of air leaving the
main and auxiliary compressor are 3 atm and 4 atm respectively. Isentropic efficiency
of compressors and turbine are 0.85 and 0.8 respectively. 50% of the total heat of air
leaving the main compressor is removed in the first heat exchanger and 30% of their

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total heat of air leaving the auxiliary compressor is removed in the second heat
exchanger using removed air. Find:

a) Power required to take cabin load
b) COP of the system

The cabin pressure is 1.02 atm and temperature of air leaving the cabin should be
greater than 25°C. Assume ramming action to be isentropic. (Solution)

6. A simple air cooled system is used for an aeroplane to take a load of 10 tons.
Atmospheric temperature and pressure is 25°C and 0.9 atm respectively. Due to
ramming the pressure of air is increased from 0.9 atm, to 1 atm. The pressure of air
leaving the main compressor is 3.5 atm and its 50% heat is removed in the air-cooled
heat exchanger and then it is passed through a evaporator for future cooling. The
temperature of air is reduced by 10°C in the evaporator. Lastly the air is passed
through cooling turbine and is supplied to the cooling cabin where the pressure is 1.03
atm. Assuming isentropic efficiency of the compressor and turbine are 75% and 70%,
find

a) Power required to take the load in the cooling cabin
b) COP of the system.

The temperature of air leaving the cabin should not exceed 25°C. (Solution)

7. True and False

1. COP of a Carnot system depends only on the refrigeration and heat rejection

2. As heat transfer from a gas can be done isothermally, Carnot cycle is easy to

3. For a fixed heat rejection and refrigeration temperature, the COP of a brayton
cycle is lower than COP of reverse Carnot cycle. (Answer)

4. Efficiency of dense air systems are low as operating pressures are higher

5. DART is the temperature of the air at the exit of the cooling turbine. (Answer)

6. A Simple system is adequate to handle high Mach numbers. (Answer)

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Description: Absorption,air refrigeration system